anti asian racism toronto

John Tory says anti-East Asian racism tops list of reported hate crimes in Toronto

Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise in Canada and beyond throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ontario in particular has seen an alarming surge in attacks and incidents targeting these communities. 

In fact, according to Toronto Mayor John Tory, anti-East Asian racism has risen to the top of the list of reported hate crimes in the city in recent months.

"Over the past year, there has been a disturbing surge in hate crimes against the East Asian community and their businesses in Canada and globally," said Tory in a statement this week.

"The tragic incident in Atlanta is another horrific example of the rise in hate crimes directed at the East Asian community and the emergent need to address this issue. And it starts by acknowledging that we are experiencing anti-East Asian racism right here in Toronto."

As a result of this growing issue, the mayor convened an Anti-East Asian racism roundtable this week to discuss ways to combat the phenomenon with community leaders. 

Tory said that leaders were given the opportunity to share their experiences with Anti-East Asian racism and to provide their advice and ideas on ways that the city can continue to support the community.

"I am discouraged to hear about violent and threatening behaviour against our residents that is fuelled by hate and racism. Acknowledging its existence is the motivation I need to cement my commitment to eradicate this behaviour," he said.

According to a report released by the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto this week, a shocking 40 per cent of all anti-Asian racist attacks and incidents reported in Canada during the pandemic were in Ontario.

Tory said the concerning statistics and stories shared by community leaders during the meeting made clear that the city needs to move quickly to create a concrete plan to combat the issue. The Toronto Police Service will be working with the city on this task.

The mayor is also asking Toronto residents to speak up and stand up against anti-East Asian racism, saying we all play a role in combating and condemning racism both individually and collectively.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Asian Canadians and other minorities have seen a rise in racist hostility and attacks because of ignorance and fear," said city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who partook in the roundtable, in a statement. 

"Often these attacks, whether verbal or physical, are not reported because even when they are, they are not considered hate crimes. When these incidents occur, we must be bold in the face of white supremacy, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic violence."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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